MerleFest 2011 a rousing success
MerleFest 2011 has come to a close for another year. Initial figures show that, from its start on Thursday, April 28, to its close on Sunday, May 1, aggregate participation over the festival's four days' celebration of "traditional plus" music exceeded 80,000, slightly more than last year.
MerleFest, held on the campus of Wilkes Community College, is the primary fundraiser for the college and funds scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
Four days of beautiful weather, as well as a diverse and fully loaded schedule of artists, were key factors in keeping attendance high. For the second year in a row, first-day festival attendance (Thursday, April 28) was the highest in MerleFest history. Additionally, second-day (Friday, April 29) attendance this year appears to have been the second highest in the festival's 24-year history. Saturday and Sunday's numbers are expected to rank in the festival's top five for their respective days, as well.
Performers included Doc and Richard Watson, Randy Travis, The Doobie Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Zac Brown Band, Robert Plant's Band of Joy, The Waybacks with Joan Osborne, John Hartford String Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, Cadillac Sky, Balsam Range, Sarah Jarosz, Crooked Still, Sonny Landreth, Jerry Douglas featuring Omar Hakim and Viktor Krauss, Alison Brown Quartet with Stuart Duncan, Del McCoury Band, Tut Taylor, Scythian, The Emmitt-Nershi Band, The Wailin' Jennys, Roy Book Binder, The Kruger Brothers and many more.
A complete listing of all MerleFest sponsors and additional information about all aspects of the festival can be found at http://www.merlefest.org. Next year's festival is scheduled for April 26-29, 2012.